Advent: A Time of Waiting

What are we waiting for?” So begins our Advent journey. Advent is our time of waiting and preparing. The word Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus, which means “coming.” It is the beginning of a new

Savor the Flavor of Advent

Savor the Flavor of Advent

liturgical year in the Church, beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas and lasting until the Nativity of Our Lord is celebrated. It will typically fall somewhere between November 27th at the earliest and December 3rd at the latest. This year, we began this past Sunday, December 3rd. The liturgical color for this season is violet, the color of royalty.

During the season of Advent we are looking forward and waiting for something greater; both for the annual celebration of Christ’s birth, and for the time when, as promised, Christ will come again.

In the classroom, we celebrate this holy time of year daily with two very special activities. The first is our Advent Wreath. This wreath is part of our waiting each year.  As Christians, each part of the wreath has meaning. We begin with a circle.  A circle has no beginning and no end. It represents God, who has no beginning or end.  God has always lived and always will live.  God lived among us through Jesus, and God lives with us now.

Evergreens that stay green all year are added, symbolizing God’s love and care, which never changes. This symbol reminds us that people who love God will live forever.

Four candles finish the wreath. Three of them are purple and one is rose colored. The first candle is called the Prophecy or waiting candle.  It symbolizes the years of foretelling and waiting for the Messiah. The second candle is the Bethlehem candle, symbolizing the preparations being made for the coming of the Christ child.  It is the candle of giving…we give ourselves to Jesus. The Shepherd’s candle comes next. It symbolizes sharing Christ joyfully.  It is the pink candle, the color of joy and hope. Finally, we have the Angel’s candle. It represents love and the savior’s final coming.  It is the candle of promise, the promise of Jesus.

Each day we light the appropriate number of candles. Following the lighting of the Advent wreath, we hear readings taken from the bible. Together, the readings tell the story of the birth of Jesus, beginning with the angel’s announcement to Mary that she has been chosen to be the Mother of Jesus and ending with his birth. We turn out the lights and let the light of the lit candles remind us that Jesus truly is “the light of the world.”

Finally, we mark the days of Advent with an Advent Calendar. Ours is located on the bulletin board outside of our classroom. Each day, a student pulls off a card covering the representation of a symbol. The symbols help us to see our connection to God and Jesus and to see that as Christians, the path to true happiness lies in believing in and trusting God. These simple, everyday objects can remind us of the love God has for us.

The first symbol on the board is a key. It reminds us that Jesus is the key to a successful and happy life. The second day reveals a band-aid. The love of Jesus helps heal life’s little hurts and disappointments. Next we have a clock…it is always time to follow Jesus. What about a magnifying glass? Jesus helps us to take a good look and see the goodness in everyone. Each day brings a new surprise and a new way of looking at an everyday object!

As the days fly by and we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, take time to reflect on the meaning of Advent. What traditions does your family have? Invite your child to tell you what his/her Advent experiences for the day has been. There is a lot to share with one another during this special time!

Happy Advent!

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